Liveaboard in Florida
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Fort Myers
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Must be nice.....
I plan to buy a used 30 footer if Fla this year. Due to limited sun and heat tolerance I need a Bimini if the boat has none and I want to experiment with solar screen shields to cut sun by half in the cockpit and also forward. I have seen boats with solar screen shields draped across decks loosely. Used Biminis are a ubiquitous item on Craig's List.
By the way, the photos of cockpit enclosures in this thread are nice, but each one likely costs more than the entire purchase price for the boat I can afford.
For cold protection I will dress warm, isinglass is very expensive, has high windage and has a short useful life.
For side sun protection while maintaining ventilation I plan to try using the solar screen shields popular with RVers and farmers. A company called FarmTek.com is a huge supplier to farmers with low prices, the opposite of premium marine pricing structure. The have a huge selection of awning and sun screen fabrics, some are loosely woven reflective mylar. They do custom cut orders of any size with sewn and grommeted finished edging for very reasonable prices. Since the approach with sun screen means the panels do not have to be very strong for wind gusts or rain retention, these panels could be easily improvised from bulk fabric as well. Some of the screening is available with varying degrees of reflectivity, from 10 to 90%.
I would like to hear from others who have used solar screens for protection from low angle sun. I imagine a screen that covers one side of the cockpit would be enough, it could be moved depending on which side is getting the glare.